Christopher tm Herdt (cherdt) wrote,
Christopher tm Herdt

Recent Reading: The Three Christs and Subsistence U.S.A.

Last night I finished reading The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, in which Dr. Milton Rokeach arranges to have three paranoid schizophrenics who believe themselves to be Jesus Christ moved to the same ward in the Ypsilanti State Hospital, where he holds daily meetings with the three men. This occurred in the years 1959-1961.

It's worth the read for their delusions alone, particularly Leon (a.k.a. Dr. Domino Dominorum et Rex rexarum Simplus Christianus Puer Mentalis Doktor Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and, later, Dr. Righteously Idealed Dung). Outside of their outrageous delusions, however, at least two of them seem relatively intelligent and witty, and I felt bad for them for some of the experiments that were conducted (such as composing letters to Leon from his wife, who in fact did not exist, to see if advice from one of his delusions could be used to influence his behavior).

It's also interesting that I had to wait about 10 minutes at a locked glass case at the Friends of the Library book sale to buy this paperback--for the grand sum of $2. Granted, that is 4 times the price of their other paperbacks, but I hardly think a $2 book is worth putting under lock-and-key. Then, just today, I discover that the cheapest copy available on is $53.95, and the cheapest on is $99.50. How curious! I mean, it's an interesting book, but I don't know if it's $100 interesting.

This morning I finished reading Subsistence U.S.A.. A very interesting book from the early 70s with photos, essays, and interviews with people of strength and character. Parts of it make me wish I'd been born when my parents were born--hideous fashions and lack of personal computers aside, the early 70s must have been an interesting time--not because they produced quirky characters who live life their own way, for such people still exist today--but because people wanted to read about them. I'm not sure anyone really cares about such things now.
Tags: books

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.